2022 Grantee Farmers Against Hunger Grows Its Impact Despite Challenges
After receiving Impact100 South Jersey’s 2022 $50k General Operating Grant in 2022, Farmers Against Hunger (FAH) increased its capacity to stem hunger through a variety of methods. FAH is a program of the New Jersey Agriculture Society and it focuses on reducing food waste by collecting and redistributing food from food retailers and farmers to organizations that serve people striving to succeed. Executive Director Brooke McMinn shared the many ways the program has grown.
Among the things FAH has done since receiving the grant:
- Expanded the raised garden bed plot and installed new plantings to supplement food donations and serve as resources for local community educational programs.
- Installed a concrete pad to support food donation deliveries to their storage site where food is also sorted and distributed to local community hunger relief organizations.
- Addressed vehicle fleet needs, including insurance, the rising cost of fuel and repairs to the van used as part of their gleaning program.
- Purchased supplies and materials for staff and volunteers who participate in gleaning and packing projects.
“These kinds of operational costs areas support FAH’s efforts to expand its reach into the geographic footprint area of Impact100 South Jersey.” McMinn shared. They plan to continue to build on the progress in order to enhance service to those in need. McMinn says that includes, “the elderly, disabled, veterans, homes, unemployed, underemployed, or economically disadvantaged due to other circumstances.”
The pandemic did throw several challenges their way. They scaled back the original plan to fully implement the Grow for Good program at the Land Stewardship Center in Delran to address more pressing and unforeseen operational costs. They withstood a significant increase in competition for grants to address hunger and program focused on meeting basic needs. FAH also faced new transportation restrictions from a state-funded grant that supports their gleaning program as gas prices skyrocketed.
In spite of those challenges along with staffing changes, increased utility costs and delaying bringing on an intern for the Land Stewardship Center, McMinn says with the support of Impact100 South Jersey, they were able to surpass the food/gleaning and distribution impact over that of the pre-pandemic year of 2019. “As need continued at a high level, the NJAS Farmers Against Hunger program was able to sustain a correspondingly high level of responsiveness, and even extend its geographic reach.”